With House of the Dragon just around the corner, anticipation among fans of the original show, Game of Thrones, is escalating.
Ever since the debacle of the last season of Game of Thrones, there have been rumors of multiple prequels and sequels, but as a fan of the first few seasons myself, the feeling initially was less of excitement and more of nervousness.
Was I ready for another heartbreak? Another show that I would get attached to and get my heart broken?
But the more I know about House of the Dragon, the more eager I am to watch it and immerse myself into Westeros’ world again.
House of the Dragon is created by the director of many Game of Thrones episodes, Miguel Sapochnik, and written by Ryan Condal. Both have said that they will improve upon what did not work for the original while keeping the essence of what did work.
Here are some reasons I will be watching House of the Dragon and why you should too.
George R.R. Martin is involved
Let’s face it. Game of Thrones was at its best during the time of the first four seasons, which happens to be while George R.R. Martin was involved in the writing. After all, Martin’s book series A Song of Ice and Fire led to the show’s creation.
Without his involvement in the writing of the later seasons, it was apparent the show diverted from the plot and resorted to shock value to subvert expectations. So much character development was tossed aside.
Martin has created a mammoth universe with several characters and their backstories, so staying faithful to the source material is imperative for any show for it to do justice to his world.
The original show may have hit the plot points he had in mind, but the way it reached these points was jarring, to say the least.
Martin knows the last season was not received well. He has read the comments. He is aware of what went wrong. We can expect House of the Dragon not to make the same mistakes.
House of the Dragon is based on Martin’s book Fire and Blood, taking us about 200 years before the era we saw on Game of Thrones. The show will take us to a time when the Targaryens were at the peak of their power.
Fire and Blood is not a traditional novel but a historical account of the reign of House Targaryen and its eventual destruction following a civil war.
With the author of the book himself involved with the creation and writing of the show, we can be assured that the quality will not be compromised, and we will get something close to the initial seasons of Game of Thrones, at the very least.
Martin has also shown confidence in Ryan Condal for running the show along with Miguel Sapochnik.
More political drama and familial disputes
If I had to draw a parallel, I would say House of the Dragon would be like the Succession of Westeros.
We are about to get into the family dynamics of the Targaryens and how politics affected their relationships. This prequel is the story of generations within the dynasty, and we can be confident we will get to watch many epic scenes with delicious dialogue.
This is what was great about Game of Thrones originally. At its core, Thrones was never really about the battles. They were fun to watch, but the show’s essence was the characters’ interactions with each other.
Somehow the show lost that touch in the final season, and we did not get enough dialogue between the characters. While battles and dragons will still be a part of this prequel, the trailers suggest that the focal point will be politics.
The battle for succession to the Iron Throne will undoubtedly be essential, but it will happen eventually after conflict and resentment build up. The battles in the season finales of Thrones were so enthralling to watch because they happened after a build-up of conflict over time.
We know that the Targaryen dynasty met its downfall, but we do not know how and what role each character played in this event.
Female characters at the forefront
Based on the trailer, we can conclude that a significant theme of this prequel is going to be gender and how it affected the politics of Westeros.
More than one dialogue in the trailer makes it clear that in the world we are watching, women do not inherit the Iron Throne, and even considering such a possibility is foolish.
These patriarchal notions drive characters to act in a certain way and make decisions that lead to civil war because the women at the forefront of this story do not back down easily.
It is noteworthy that writer and executive producer Sara has said in a statement to Vanity Fair that “we do not depict sexual violence in the show.” She added, “We handle one instance off-screen and instead show the aftermath and impact on the victim and the mother of the perpetrator.”
This approach is a departure from the original show, which got criticism for its excessive depiction of sex and female nudity.
Many more dragons
“Dreams didn’t make us kings. Dragons did,” says Daemon Targaryen in the trailer.
House of the Dragon will have plenty of dragons, many more than the three we saw on Game of Thrones. The prequel will show the Targaryen reign at its strongest, which means we will see the skies of Westeros occupied by more dragons than we ever have.
According to what co-showrunner Ryan Condal revealed at Comic-Con, there will be 17 dragons (season one will feature nine). If watching these magnificent CGI creatures fly around and breathe fire is one of your favorite things about Game of Thrones, you will definitely be into this show.
Each dragon will reportedly have different features, colorings, and personalities. It will be fun to see how every dragon interacts with its rider and what role they each play.
As the seasons go on, we will most likely watch Dance of the Dragons, the civil war that led to the downfall of the Targaryen dynasty. Watching so many dragons fight midair should be a sight to behold.
Miguel Sapochnik has directed several battle sequences in the original, like the unforgettable “Hardhome,” so we can be sure the battle scenes in the prequel will be handled well.
Even though the original ended disappointingly, it gave us many years of brilliant writing and storytelling. When it was good, it was great.
It could have been the best show of all time, and while I do not have such a high expectation from House of the Dragon, maybe it will revive the excitement we once felt watching the story of this realm.
It has a different crew, different cast, and hopefully a slightly different approach that will help the show feel fresh while being respectful to the source material.
Keeping that in mind, there are plenty of reasons to watch this prequel. I hope this show diminishes the pain that the final season of Game of Thrones brought us and gives way to many more prequels and sequels.
If not, we will always have the books.
Neha Kapoor is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.